|Image courtesy of PlusYourBusiness.com|
Some people think that they have to “Circle back” anyone who Circles them. But more isn’t necessarily better. First, Google limits you to Circling only 5000 people, and if 1,000,000 people Circle you, then what are you going to do? Second, more people you Circle, the less you can give them individual warm fuzzies.
So, I know this is a tough one for you extroverts, but you’re really better off only Circling the people who are actually fun and engage with you.
Google Plus Circles are ALSO how you organize the people that you follow into groups, so that your husband and boss don’t see the off-colored jokes you’re sharing with your College circle, and you aren’t boring your Bar Fly Circle friends with the promotional material you send to your customers.
One of the cool things about Circles is that if you’re perusing your stream and happen to catch a suspicious post from one of your kids, you could jump into that Circle, see what they and their friends are up to, and thwart their plans before they burn down the block.
Another cool thing about Circles is that if you add someone to a Circle, they get a notification that you Circled them, but they don’t see the name of the Circle you put them in. This means that you could set up a Circle titled “Annoying People Who Don’t Deserve the Time of Day”, dump in your brother-in-law, and in the real world, he would still think you’re a totally nice guy.
Pretty nice system, if you ask me.
Five Essential Business Circles That You Should Have
On a slightly more serious note, Google Plus sets up several Circles by default, but you can add, delete, or edit any of your Circles according to your needs. If you’re using Google Plus for business, Stephan Hovnanian suggests setting up the following Circles in Google Plus:
1. Brand advocates
Your brand advocates are your evangelists. They’re happy customers, fans, and other people who think the world of you, and they deserve some social love. Read their posts, give ‘em a +1 or a comment, or share their posts, and they’ll feel like kings and queens. Even better, the people in their Circles will see your activity, and they might want to check out your company or even hire you.
2. Team members
Your team members are often your best brand advocates, and they deserve the same kind of social love. Also, interacting with them acts as a gentle reminder that yes, Big Sister is watching, so please don’t advertise any sales that don’t exist or answer questions that you’re not sure about.
3. Industry or keyword influencers & bloggers
Influencers are the big kids on the block – the ones on whose coattails you’d love to catch a ride. You can learn a lot by watching what they do, and of course, building relationships with them (as long as you’re not acting like an annoying younger sibling) might just result in one of your posts getting shared with their (much bigger) network, or even get you written up in their blog. They might even let you drive their car.
Networking is where good old-fashioned, business-to-business “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” action happens. As Stephan Hovnanian puts it, “For example, if you are an IT recruiter, you could have a circle of IT bloggers that you notify when you have new positions you need to fill. They can, in turn, help get the word out. And of course, be sure to reciprocate whenever possible.”
5. Industry news
Out here on the ragged edge, things change quickly, and keeping up with the latest and greatest should be part of your daily task on Google Plus. Not only does it make you look cool, smart, and savvy, but it’s great stuff to share with your followers, to keep them up-to-date.
Tip: if you re-post a link, write an insightful or provocative introduction in your own words, so that the news has your brand identity associated with it.
So, how do you find people to Circle?
a. You can Circle people on the Suggested Users List (not my personal favorite -- ever had a computer pick your friends? That said, Google Plus DOES have good taste here and there.)
b. If you're Circled some people, you can prowl their profiles and Circle interesting-looking people in their network.
c. You can search for individual people or perform other searches (such as “social media”) and Circle the people who show up.
d. You can click on interesting Hashtags to see who else uses them.
e. You can peruse the comments on posts and Circle the people who write good ones, or Circle people who respond to your comments (one of my favorite techniques).
f. You can do the same thing with the comments in Hangouts on Air (another of my favorite techniques).
g. You can join Communities and meet people with similar interests (my absolute favorite technique).
Keep in mind that, if you’re doing this for your business, you should be targeting people who might be interested in your products or services.
Who knew that a simple people-organizing system could be so powerful? Enjoy exploring Google Plus Circles!
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Symblème Services Online
Catharine Symblème, Small Business Evangelist
315 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101
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